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the Horse, the Wheel,
and Language

by David W. Anthony
2010 AD

Trundholm Chariot
"Perhaps made in about 1300 BC"
From The Sun-Gods of Ancient Europe
Miranda Green, Batsford 1991, p 114


Sad that the Führer, whose pitiable ideas of genocide and ethnic mastery derived from the Pentateuch, should hi-jack the sun-wheel.

Now that this tome has arrived, click, I will attempt to digest some of its 550 pages. Presumably, I will not succeed, but does that matter ? No more than anything else. How the bronze age riders shaped the modern world. Ho-hum. European Bronze Age: c. 3200–600 BC. Followed there and elsewhere, at various times, in different parts of the world, by the Iron Age. These Ages were invented by a Dane, called Christian Thomsen, according to page 123 of Anthony's hefty book.

Negotiation of David Anthony's masterwork proved less easy than I'd hoped. Though not averse to learning about the shaping of the modern world from the Eurasian steppes, my main interest is in Scandinavian languages. I scoured the index for Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and England, but found only Icelandic. I did ultimately discover Denmark, on page 123, as mentioned, and was surprised to learn that the country had been threatened by Sweden in 1807, and also "abandoned" by Norway. I learned on page 23 that "most people meet a lot more people who speak differently than do the Icelanders". American fondness for "different than" always disconcerts me, particularly since I was once lambasted for saying "different to" instead of "different from". I don't think Anthony is going to help me in connection with discovering anything about the Scandinavian languages, and in spite of the above Trundholm chariot I don't think horses and chariots made any great inroads into Bronze Age Scandinavia. Thus this page becomes no more than a dumping ground for odds and ends.

1999: Swedish Sprachgefühl for Anglo-Saxon
2013: More Sprachgefühl for Anglo-Saxon

A Curiosity

Could East Anglia's kinship with Sweden be any closer ?

See also: Wikipedia, East Anglia, or here.   *** *** ***         *** *** ***   See also: Kingdom of East Anglia, flags

"That the small neck of land, with few villages, round Angeln [in Denmark], with both its name and the majority of its place-names, should then become unpopulated, seems far-fetched, especially in view of the thousands of places in Sweden which are admirably placed [for Anglian origin]." David Burns.

This language tree is queried. Languages are not linked like this.


Cat loose among pigeons.

Fact is, I don't believe the language tree, as at left. Languages are not genetic. Languages do not descend from each other in this way. Not in the north anyway, and probably nowhere else. Dan and Nori were sons of Sweden. Their language genes criss-crossed arbitrarily.

It is not supposed that the Germanic language tree is meant to be especially endorsed by David Anthony, although it features on page 12.

When I asked a lady shop-owner in the Faeroes what language she was speaking,
she answered (in Scandinavish): "I speak Scandinavish".

Another angle: from Simon James, The Atlantic Celts, 1999, pp 14 - 15.
It is currently claimed the Scandinavian sail didn't develop until about 600 AD.
I wonder. I seriously wonder. But the excavated early boats could not carry masts.
The Greeks had sails at least 1000 years earlier.

"Inhumation in (tree-trunk) coffins was already starting to be practised in Schleswig-Holstein in the beginnings of its Bronze Age ... especially in Jutland. ... The same rite of boat- or coffin-burial appears simultaneously in Britain in the middle centuries of the second millenium, when the North Sea trade route was flourishing ... penetrating the Wessex culture ... but more prominent on the east coast, especially in Yorkshire, where the Irish route over the Pennines reached the sea. The ... Gristhorpe coffin-burial near Scarborough ... the great barrow of Loose Howe on the Cleveland Moors ... serve to show how the same rite took hold among the seafarers of both sides of the North Sea between about 1600 and 1400 B.C." From The Prehistoric Foundations of Europe; C.F.C.Hawkes, Methuen 1940; pp 365-66.

A compressed scan, just to rub it in.

The Amber Route

A voyage by water to the next world

How did the flourishing North Sea traders of 1500 BC effect their crossings ? Some form of home-made portable canvas ? I'm pretty sure they didn't cling to any coastline. In any case, Shetland is nearer Norway than Scotland.

This Mediterranean model is datable to when ?


Gravestone, pre-600
Ship with sail ?


Gravestone, pre-600
Ship with mast ?

essays and papers
ancient scandinavia
gothonic or old scandinavian
bede     gata and strada    geats    gildas
hollander & gradon       frank, mere, sund
saxon shore: one, two, three
sweet, bradbury, emptiness
soul memory mind language
journey's jargon


Abbot Cuthbert's account of Bede's death, translated by Dr Charles Plummer, from R.W.Chambers, Before the Conquest.


© Charles Harrison-Wallace 2017
All Rights Reserved

A Short Reading List

Stjerna, R.
Chambers, R.W.
Hawkes, C.F.C..
Bruce-Mitford. R.L.S.
Sherley-Price, Leo; rev.Latham, R.E.
McClure, J. & Collins, R.
Wallace-Hadrill, J.M.
James, Simon
James, Simon
Sherley-Price, Leo; rev.Latham, R.E.
Tatyana Solomonik-Pankrashova
Essays on questions in connection with Beowulf
England before the Norman Conquest
The Prehistoric Foundations of Europe
The Sutton Hoo Ship Burial
A History of the English Church & People
The Ecclesiastical History of the English People
The Ecclesiastical History of the English People
Exploring the World of Celts
The Atlantic Celts: Ancient People or Modern Invention ?
History of the English Church & People
Sense of Emptiness: Chapter Five, pages 72-73.
Translated by J.R.Clark Hall. See Geats.
Cary, M.: Foreword on Roman Britain.
The Swedish Connection; Chapter X.
Bede. Revised edition.
Bede. Bertram Colgrave translation.
A Historical Commentary
See second exploration by James; 1999
Ancient People or Modern Invention ?
Folio edition. Intro: Melvyn Bragg.
Comments on The Seafarer.

*** *** ***
under permanent reconstruction.

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