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Title: Celts and Germans : an old question, a modern synthesis
Author: O'Hara, C. J.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2006
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Many detailed scholarly studies have been undertaken in the isolation of one discipline on the origins of the tribes of Germania. By combining the three disciplines of History, Linguistics and Archaeology, a clearer and more complete picture will emerge. Following Arivistus’ settlement in Gaul, and Caesar’s Gallic campaigns, a major Teutonic advance on Central Europe from Scandinavia and northern and eastern Germania occurred. This contributed to the fall of the oppida and Celtic tribal structure between the Main, Lippe, Weser, and also south of the Main. It resulted in the ethnogenesis of the Celtic and immigrant Teutonic tribes in Germania, e.g. the Chatti. These produced hybrid archaeological material cultures, mixed linguistic groupings, and increasing assimilation to Teutonic language and culture. An assessment of tribal, personal, place, river, forest, mountain, town, and fort names, demonstrates the ethnic and linguistic groupings of the tribes east and west of the Rhine. This is also true of military and religious inscriptions, e.g. the Matronae. The material cultures found in regions east of the Rhine, assumed to be populated by Teutonic tribes, are sometimes found to be solely La Tène. The Augustan advance on Germania prompted increased militarization and consolidation of tribal confederations with a shift from native Rhenish confederations, e.g. the Sugambri, Usipetes and Tencteri, to an increasing focus on the Teutonic confederations of the north and east, e.g. Cherusci and Suebi. This was combined with a second wave of Teutonic migration from Scandinavia and northern Germania into central Germania. Augstan and post-Augustan re-settlement of Germani in Gaul, the ensuing tribal flux, reformulation, and the interaction of the immigrant Germani and native Galli, resulted in ethnogenesis and the creation of new tribal units, e.g. Batavi, Cugerni, Tungri, Texuandri. The rediscovery of Tacitus’ Germania in the fifteenth century reawakened an interest in the Germani amongst the German speaking peoples. The growth of German Nationalism culminated in the Unification of Germany in 1870. Later, the Fascists of the Third Reich formed an Imperial Association for German Prehistory, which denied any suggestion of the Teutonic origins of the German people being mixed with those of the cultures of neighbouring non-Teutonic speaking peoples. This enforced the idea that the indigenous people of modern Germany were all of Teutonic origin. When taken as a whole, the Historical, Linguistic and Archaeological evidence demonstrates that the picture which emerges is of Celtic tribes east of the Rhine which had been subsumed and assimilated by the increasingly dominant peoples of Teutonic culture. There is no doubt that many of the tribes of Germania, who by the Augstan era had adopted Teutonic language and Northern German-Scandinavian archaeological culture, had Celtic origins.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available