Kirtlan Appendix Tribes

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XI
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TRIBES MENTIONED IN THE POEM

1. Brondings. Breca was a Bronding. After his famous swimming-match with Beowulf (Chapter VIII.), he is said to have sought out his pleasant fatherland the land of the [207]Brondings. Arnold suggests that they were located in Mecklenburg or Pomerania.

2. Danes, also called Bright-Danes, Ring-Danes, Spear-Danes, because of their warlike character; and North Danes, South Danes, &c., because of their wide distribution. They are said to have inhabited the Scede lands and Scedenig and between the seas ; that is, they were spread over the Danish Islands, the southern province of Sweden, and the seas between them.

3. Jutes (Eotenas), probably people ruled over by Finn, King of Friesland, and identical with the Frisians.

4. Franks and Frisians. The Franks were ancestors of the modern French. After the conversion of Clovis (A.D. 496), they gradually encroached on the Frisians.

5. Frisians include the Frisians, the Franks, the Hetware, and the Hugs. Friesland was the country between the River Ems and the Zuyder Zee.

6. Geats. They dwelt in the south of Sweden between the Danes and the Swedes. Bugge sought to identify them with the Jutes, and held that Gautland was Juteland. He based this theory on certain phrases: e.g. Chapter XXXIII., where the Swedes (the sons of Ohthere) are said to have visited the [208]Geats across the sea, and again in Chapter XXXV. the Swedes and the Geats are said to have fought over wide water ; but, as Arnold points out, these phrases can be interpreted in such a way as not to be incompatible with the theory that they dwelt on the same side of the Cattegat, i.e. on the northern side, and in the extreme south of Sweden.

The question as to whether they are identical with the Goths of Roman history is still an open one. Arnold says, There is a great weight of evidence tending to identify the Geats with the Goths, and he quotes evidence from Gibbon (chapter X.). Pytheas of Marseilles, in the fourth century, says that, passing through the Baltic Sea, he met with tribes of Goths, Teutons, and Ests.

Tacitus, in chapter XLIII. of Germania, speaks of the Goths as dwelling near the Swedes. Jornandes traces the Goths to Scanzia, an island in the Northern Sea. It is probable, then, that the Goths had a northern and indeed a Scandinavian origin. If so, Beowulf the Geat was probably a Goth.

7. Healfdenes. The tribe to which Hnaef belonged.

8. Heathoremes. The people on whose shores Beowulf was cast up after his swimming-match with Breca. [209]

9. Ingwine. Friends of Ing—another name for the Danes.

10. Scyldingas. Another name for the Danes, as descended from Scyld.

11. Scylfingas. Name for the Swedes.

12. Waegmundings. The tribe to which both Beowulf and Wiglaf belonged.

13. Wylfings. Probably a Gothic tribe.

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