Sunday, 24 June 2012
The Ancient Presence of the Germanic Peoples in England
Academics are beginning to unearth evidence from the disciplines of linguistics,genetics,archaeology and history for the much deeper antiquity of the presence of the Germanic peoples in the British Isles. Two books in particular are of especial interest and relevance to this subject, namely Stephen Oppenheimer`s The Origins of the British and Graeme Davis` The Early English Settlement of Orkney and Shetland.
Another work which is indirectly of assistance in the much wider issue of the deeper antiquity of the Indo-European presence in Europe is Colin Renfrew`s Archaeology and Language: The Puzzle of Indo-European Origins.
Dr Oppenheimer`s work unfortunately has been misunderstood and misinterpreted on many discussion forums where people assume[often those who have not taken the time to read his book] that his general theory is that the British Isles "were populated almost entirely by Iberians and Basques". This is a false understanding. It is clear that if they had taken the trouble to read his book-IN ITS ENTIRETY they would see that his main argument and theory is that the English population of Britain has a much deeper antiquity than the arbitary date of 449CE referred to in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles.
Oppenheimer uses first the science of genetics to establish that Britain was populated in two directions: one from the modern region of the Basque country in southern France and northern Spain where northern Europeans had retreated before the last great Ice Age and then returned to northern Europe and one from North West Europe. This does not make any of the populations of Britain Basque or Iberian[these ethnicities did not even exist at the time!]just because some of the Basques or Iberians have a similar DNA haplotype to some northern Europeans. This faulty interpretation of genetics and history unfortunately leads many lesser minds to infect others with similar error.
After establishing the genetic basis for the migration into the British Isles he then explains his argument from various sources that Old English[which we commonly refer to as "Anglo-Saxon"]is a much more ancient language than it is traditionally thought to be. Indeed he goes so far to postulate that Old English which he feels has more Norse influence than Low German should be considered as a seperate branch of Germanic, midway between North and West Germanic. The utter lack of Latin and Celtic loan words and the apparent division into distinct regional dialects of Old English so soon by the mid 6th century CE points to the presence of a much more long standing Germanic language in England which created a hybrid with the Anglo-Saxon invasions which he feels did not significantly change the gene pool of England because he argues that Germanic people had already colonised England at some point between the Neolithic and Bronze Ages and that there has been a steady colonisation from that point up to the 5th century CE and onwards with the Danish invasions.
Oppenheimer also demolishes the theory that Celtic languages were introduced into Britain as late as the Iron Age, again arguing for a much deeper presence of Indo-European languages. He also establishes the likely Germanic roots of the Belgae who he believes were also part of the long Germanic migration into Britain.
His theories should be of considerable utility to all who are involved in the reawakening of the Germanic English peoples and their struggle to regain their soil from the invader.