Home    Number 4, 2011

On New Approaches to Interpretation of the Northern Peoples List in Jordanes’s “Getica”

Type of publication: Research Article

About author(s)

Irina V. Zinkovskaia | APM1950@yandex.ru | Voronezh State University


ethnos, ethnonym, ethnicon, gothic epic, mordva, chud’, jordanes, exoethnonym, oral folk art, mer’, ves’


The roots of many peoples of Eastern Europe go back to the epoch of the so called divide between the Barbarians and the Civilization. Herodotus, Ptolemy, and Jordanes had left for us original information on some peoples of the Eastern European hinterland. The present article is concerned with the ethnic situation in areas of Eastern Europe at the borderline of antiquity and middle ages as refl ected in Jordanes’s “Getica”. What is implied is a list of “northern peoples” (arctoi gentes) that had been allegedly conquered by the Ostrogothic king Hermanaric. The geographical association of most peoples from the “northern list” with the wide forestal belt from the East Baltics to Volga appears credible. It can be taken as factually proven that Jordanes’s Merens and Mordens were to correspond to Mer’ and Mordva of the Russian Chronicles. Further warrantable is the parallel between Imniskaris and the ancient Meshchera – or rather with the location called Meshchera which is connected in Jordanes’s text with the two above-mentioned tribes (“Merens Mordens Imniskaris” in *Miskar). What is less evident but still plausible is the correspondence between Thiudos and Chud’ in the place named Aunks (“Thiudos in Aunxis”), as well as between Vasinabroncas and the Ves’ of the chronicles (“visu” of the Arabian authors), which were also tied to a certain location (“Vas in Аbroncas” – i.e. “all in Abroncas”).


Zinkovskaia, I.V.2011. On New Approaches to Interpretation of the Northern Peoples List in Jordanes’s “Getica”. Etnograficheskoe obozrenie 4: 123-133

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