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lothia

Roman Names for foreign tribes

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Ave Civitas,

 

I am writing a novel set during the later Roman Empire.  I have a question about names applied to the Germanic (or any, really) tribes.

 

The Vandals were called, by the Romans, Vandali, or Vandalii.

The Goths were called Gothi.

And among the Goths were the Tervingi and the Greuthingi.

 

I noticed that all the names end with the 'i'

 

This must be a Roman naming practice.

My question is;

Where did the Romans get the root word that they appended the 'i' to?

 

Did the Vandalii call themselves Vandal?

Were the Tervingi really the Terving?

 

As always, thank you in advance for your help.

 

Tom

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Did the Vandalii call themselves Vandal?

Were the Tervingi really the Terving?

 

I know nothing about those names, and would guess it's hard to know for groups who left no writings or cohesive remaining culture as discussed in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goths#Etymology .  Don't let my ignorance deter your search. From here on I will just digress and vent some things from an anthropological perspective to nobody in particular.

 

Not only does a group's name often differ from an inside vs outside perspective... it usually ought to. In fact what defines the group typically is (and should be) different from inside vs outside. Fer instance, a group may define it's boundaries by ideology and culture vs Roman's define it by a mobilized threatening subset with added misc allies. Names don't refer to universal "things" but to dynamic entities that arise with meaning specific to each naming culture.

 

E.G. who are "asians" and where do you draw the line? Try to be excruciatingly correct and ask the "asians" what they call themselves and you will cause insult for your patronizing assumptions. Even if they had the same concept with a name you wanted to adopt, it can be something you not only can't pronounce, but cannot hear properly. Look at the word "ma" in asian languages with umpteen meanings based on the tone. Look at languages with clicks and so on... now we know that the human mind rewires itself with age to increasingly lose the ability to even hear distinctions that your language doesn't use... it's an efficiency step. The same way as you learn to see red hair as a sign of hot tempers... oops.

 

Maybe the Romans at times had some diplomatic contact and would approximate what a group called itself. But I hope they often used names meaningful to them, like mountain raiders, for groups which Romans defined who was in or out. That sounds harsh by P.C. standards but is how language works if you have experience in artificial intell and machine learning of language. Language takes a wide perspective for granted and just makes explicit a shorthand for what is culturally unexpected.

 

I like it when foreign airlines announce a flight to "chic-cog-oh" instead of "shic-cog-oh"; they shouldn't have to be a slave to the quirky exceptions of pronouncing Chicago. I hate the western impulse to pander to someone else's pronounciation... they probably wouldn't even call Cadiz cadeeth but try some odd guatamalan dialect. The western world is becoming increasingly corrupted by misguided attempts of compassion with money or words, but I guess a novel isn't the place to fight this :-)

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