Cimbri et Teutoni

Authors

BLAŽEK Václav BICHLMEIER Harald

Year of publication 2020
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Acta Linguistica Lithuanica
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Citation
Keywords Germanic ethnonyms; etymology; obscured compounds; semantic typology
Description The well-known names Cimbri and Teutoni / Teutones are traditionally said to denominate two different Germanic tribes. Here a new idea is proposed, namely that they originally formed a syntagm consisting of both words, PGmc. *?eu?đanoz kumbrii?on ‘chieftains of tribes’, which later got split up into two tribal names in ancient sources: Teutoni Cimbrique, or ???????? ??? ??µß???. While PGmc. *kumbr- must be reconstructed, there are different ways in which the name is rendered in the Latin and Greek sources, where we find a variation u/y – i in the root vowel. This may be due to the fact that there is a certain fluctuation between u and i in inherited words in Latin on the one hand and a fluctuation between all these vowels in loaned words and names in both languages. The original form of the name of the Cimbri, PGmc. *kumbrii?a, may continue an obscured compound of the roots PIE *gem- ‘press, squeeze, grab’ and *bher- ‘carry’. PGmc. *?eu?đanoz is the regular plural to *?eu?đanaz ‘tribal chieftain’, later ‘king’. Its origin from PGmc. *?eu?đo ‘tribe’ is generally accepted. Among various etymological attempts to analyze ‘West Indo-European’ *teu?ta we prefer the idea of de Vries deriving the word the Celto-Germanic isogloss to *teu?to- ‘good, friendly’. The Hittite cognates imply the existence of the root *teu?- ‘to be kind, friendly’.
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