Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Sneaky immigration. Old old story

The migration of the Goths from Scandinavia however bears some similarities with the story of the Gutasaga, which tells of an emigration, that is associated with the historical migration of the Goths during the Migration period:
This Thielvar had a son called Hafthi. And Hafthi's wife was called Whitestar. Those two were the first to settle on Gotland. The first night they slept together she dreamt that three snakes were coiled in her lap. And it seemed to her that they slid out of her lap. She told this dream to her husband Hafthi. He interpreted it thus:
"All is bound with bangles, it will be inhabited, this land, and we shall have three sons."
While still unborn, he gave them all names:
"Guti will own Gotland, Graip will be the second, and Gunfiaun third."
These later divided Gotland into three parts, so that Graip the eldest got the northern third, Guti the middle third, and Gunfjaun the youngest had the south. Then, over a long time, the people descended from these three multiplied so much that the land couldn't support them all. So they selected every third person by lot to leave, with the right to keep and take away with them everything they owned except for their land. They were unwilling to leave then, but went to instead Torsburgen and settled there. But afterwards the country (i.e. Gotland) would not tolerate them, and drove them away.
Then they went away to Fårö and settled there. They couldn't support themselves in that place, so they went to a certain island off the coast of Estland, called Dagö, and settled there and built a town that can still be seen. But they couldn't support themselves there either, so they went up the river Dvina, up through Russia. They went so far that they came to the land of the Greeks (i.e. the Byzantine empire). They asked leave of the Greek king to stay there while the moon waxed and waned. The king granted that, thinking it was just for one month. Then after a month, he wanted to send them away, but they answered that the moon waxed and waned for ever and always, and so they said they were allowed to stay. Word of this dispute of theirs reached the queen. She said, "My lord king, you granted them permission to dwell while the moon waxed and waned; now that's for ever and always, so you can't take it off them." So they settled there, and live there still, and still have something of our language.
That the Goths should have gone "to the land of the Greeks" is consistent with their first appearance in classical sources: Eusebius of Caesarea reported that they devastated "MacedoniaGreece, the Pontus, and Asia" in 263.
The emigration would have taken place in the 1st century AD, and loose contact with their homeland would have been maintained for another two centuries, the comment that the emigrant's language "still has something" in common shows awareness of dialectal separation.[citation needed] The events would have needed to be transmitted orally for almost a millennium before the text was written down.

Getica - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

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