The Greco-Roman Concept of the Barbarian

‘Barbarian’ and ‘barbaric’ are nowadays commonly used to describe somebody or something behaving in a particularly uncivilized or – to the observer – foreign way, and in this regards differs surprisingly little from it’s ancient counterpart. This article seeks to examine the meaning and history of the term in short.

The Roman Border in Ancient Germany

The borders of Rome weren’t as much boundaries as they were frontiers: Areas of cultural exchange between different peoples. This article explores the relationship between Rome and the Germanic tribes living beyond the border.

What Is the Oldest English Word?

Languages are always evolving in a process that is never truly finished. So to ask what the oldest word in a given language is, is a bit pointless. We can ask, however, what the oldest attested word in a given language, like English, is, which is what’s examined in this article.

The Origins of the Ancient Greeks

An attempt at answering – in brief – the question of the origin of the Ancient Greeks from an archaeological, mythological and genetic approach.

The Cause of the High German Consonant Shift

The High German Consonant Shift gave rise to the High and Upper German dialects of the West Germanic Dialect Continuum. It’s cause is still debated, however, although a Gallo-Roman substrate seems to be the most likely explanation.

The Origin of the Elder Futhark

The origin of the Elder Futhark is still disputed. The Roman alphabet appears to be a significant inspiration but fails to explain all it’s oddities. Perhaps the North Etruscan or Phoenician alphabets offer an alternative.

History through Poems: Examining Beowulf

Originally posted on Kristyn J. Miller:
Epic poems have incredible staying power both as literary achievements and as historical resources. The Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf is one of the foremost examples of this. Despite its mythological themes, the story offers historians a rare insight into Anglo-Saxon ideals of masculinity, heroism, and society. At the same time,…

Ragnarok and Reincarnation in Norse Mythology

Ragnarok describes the end of the world in Norse Mythology. Or does it really? Not only the world itself is reborn after its destruction, but one of the gods as well. Could this be an indication for reincarnation in Germanic myth or perhaps even evidence for a pan-Indo-European phenomenon of rebirth?

The Indo-European Language Family

The Indo-European language family is the most widely spoken language family in the world today, partially due to Colonialism. But even before the European expansion Indo-European languages were spoken throughout Eurasia.

How linguistics helps us reconstruct ancient fire mythology — The Philological Society Blog

Report on the ‘Martin Burr Fund’ grant offered for a monograph on the Norse God Loki written by Riccardo Ginevra (Center for Hellenic Studies, Harvard University) The historical and comparative approach to Indo-European poetic language and myth has developed greatly in the second half of the 20th century, particularly thanks to the efforts of, among […]Continue reading “How linguistics helps us reconstruct ancient fire mythology — The Philological Society Blog”

Proto-Indo-European Society: A short Introduction

Western society is often thought of as profoundly patriarchal, capitalist and power hungry, as has been shown multiple times throughout history. But how deep these traits run within our ancestry has only come to light within the last few decades with the reconstruction of Proto-Indo-European society.

Origins and Culture of the Ancient Germanic Tribes

The origin of the ancient Germans (not to be confused with the modern Germans) is still debated, although somewhere between Northern Germany and Southern Scandinavia seems to be the most likely place. Bu where did the people inhabiting this area come from?

The Origin and Expansion of the Celtic Peoples

The Celts belong to the most mysterious of Europe’s inhabitants. Today, Celtic speakers are confined to the far northwest of the continent, in the past, however, much of Continental Europe spoke Celtic. Where did they come from and how did they manage to cover such a vast area?

The Ancient Italic Peoples

Before the expansion of Rome the Italian peninsula was inhabited by a variety of different, mostly Italic peoples, such as the Umbrians, Veneti and Semnintes. But they shared the peninsula with non-Italic peoples as well, such as Greeks in the South, Etruscans in the North and Celts further beyond.