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Language and History in the Early Germanic World
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  • 1 b/w illus. 1 map
  • Page extent: 464 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.68 kg
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 (ISBN-13: 9780521794237 | ISBN-10: 0521794234)

  • Also available in Hardback
  • Published August 2000

Manufactured on demand: supplied direct from the printer

$59.99 (P)

This book offers a distinctive and accessible approach to the earliest encounters of the barbarian societies of Northern Europe with classical antiquity and with early Christianity. It brings together linguistic evidence from across Europe and dating from before Caesar to about 900 AD, to shed light on important aspects of Germanic culture. It shows how historical phonology and semantics, often avoided by nonspecialists, can provide important clues for historians and archaeologists of the period. Likewise, it demonstrates that philologists and linguists ignore historical evidence at their peril.


Introduction; Part I. The Germanic World: 1. Religion; 2. Law; 3. Kinship; 4. Warfare; 5. People and army; 6. Lordship; 7. Kingship; Part II. Contact with the Non-Germanic World: 8. Contact with the Celts; 9. The migration of the Goths; 10. Germanic loanwords in Latin; 11. Latin loanwords in Germanic; 12. Trade and warfare with the Romans; 13. Names of the days of the week; 14. The vocabulary of writing; Part III. Contact with Christianity: 15. Problems of Christianisation; 16. The influence of provincial Roman Christianity; 17. The influence of Gothic; 18. The influence of the Merovingian Franks; 19. The influence of the Anglo-Saxons; 20. Contrasts in Christian vocabulary; 21. The vocabulary of ethics and fate; Bibliography; Index of words.


"...[its] appeal lies in the author's ability to provide a broad survey by way of linguistic evidence and historical findings." Choice

"Green has assembled here virtually all of the evidence, and all of the interpretations of that evidence, regarding the advance of the Germanic peoples from prehistory into history, and presents it in an erudite and thoroughly engaging manner...[He] effectively demonstrates that the study of language is an indispensible prerequisite to the understanding of cultural institutions. Students and seasoned scholars alike will benefit enormously from a careful reading of this book." Michigan Germanic Studies

"Fortunately, as far as this reviewer is concerned, most of the prerequisites necessary to enjoying this book fully were present, and I did enjoy it...readers without much knowledge of historical Germanic linguistics or of Latin will find this book interesting and satisfying, and they should emerge, as I did, with a much clearer understanding of the underpinnings of early medieval Europe." Journal of English and Germanic Philolgy

"It almost goes without saying that this book is a major contribution to the fields that its title encompasses, representing decades of work by one of the world's foremost scholars of medieval literature and philology...To readers unfamiliar with the history of the Germanic populations of Europe, the period Green covers is one of the most interesting and surprising...Language and History in the Early Germanic World represents an extremely important contribution, one that anyone interested in the period or the peoples it addresses will most certainly consult. Its detail and exhaustive scope will leave readers with the taste of the best that rigorous philological investigation has to offer." Anthropological Linguistics

"This well-written and highly readable volume belongs in the library of any medievalist interested in the early Germanic peoples." --Speculum, A Journal of Medieval Studies

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