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French/German ethnic differences

 
 
Reply Wed 7 Oct, 2015 01:21 pm
Both modern day France and Germany originated from Frankish (Germanic) territories, West and East Francia.

East Francia, from which modern Germany developed, was part of Germania Libera, the area inhabited by Germanic tribes which was not conquered by Rome.

West Francia, from which modern France developed, had been part of Roman Gaul. My understanding is that before the Franks conquered this area, the northern portion had been inhabited by Celts, and the southern portion inhabited by Aquitanians (a Basque people). However, the Visigoths, another Germanic tribe, had conquered the area before the Franks took over.

My question, then, is to what extent the populations of France and Germany can be said to be ethnologically distinct, at the time they emerged as nations?

To this day the German name for France is Franksreich, or Realm of the Franks.

Given the displacement of Celtic populations by Germanic conquerors, as well as the intermixing of Celtic and Germanic populations even in Germania Libera east of the Rhine, it isn't at all clear to me what significant ethnic differences (as opposed to the linguistic and cultural differences that developed from the Romanization of Gaul) existed at the time France and Germany arose as nations with distinct national identities.

Does a modern scientific consensus exist, preferably based on genetic studies (DNA comparisons)? Please cite scholarly research, whether published in journals or books.

Also, in researching this I came across an intriguing but vague reference to " political interference" with 19th century French attempts to research French ethnic origins. I'd like to learn more about this.

 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Oct, 2015 03:29 pm
You're peddling nonsense. The Franks were a coalition of tribes which had been ground between the upper and nether millstones of Roman expansion and Germanic tribal expansion. You can read about the Ripurian Franks and the Salian Franks in th is Wikipedia article. After the Salian Franks had established their ascendancy, and the Merovingian dynasty was establish, the territory of modern France, Belgium and the western part of what is now Germany was divided in to several discrete kingdoms, which you can see in the map below. The two most powerful were Austrasia and Neustria.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7b/Merovingian_dynasty.jpg

Saying that all the Germans and all the French are descended from Franks is one of the most hilariously ridiculous claims about history that i've recently heard. You're ignoring the Saxons, the Visigoths, the Ostrogoths, the Vandals, the Lombards, the Allamani, the Frisians, the Danes, the Geats--literally dozens of powerful tribes or tribal confederations. You need to do a lot more reading. I suggest that you begin with The Invasion of Europe by the Barbarians by J. B. Bury. Bury was a prolific and highly respected historian in the late 19th and early 20th century. This "book" was not actually offered by Bury for publication, but is the transcripts of lectures which he delivered and which was published first in 1928, the year after his death.

Score cards, get yer score cars! Ya can't tell the players without a score card!
puzzledperson
 
  0  
Reply Wed 7 Oct, 2015 04:54 pm
@Setanta,
Idiot, I didn't say that all French and all Germans are decended from the Franks; I said that Charlemagne's Frankish empire was divided by his grandsons in the Treaty of Verdun; that the division known as East Francia developed into Germany and that of West Francia developed into France. This is well established and completely uncontroversial. See for instance here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carolingian_Empire

Your reply is completely non-responsive, fatuous, and bellicose. Stop wasting my time with your frivolous, erroneous, and insulting rants.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  3  
Reply Wed 7 Oct, 2015 05:07 pm
@puzzledperson,
This is what you wrote, and it is false and over-simplistic:

puzzledperson wrote:
Both modern day France and Germany originated from Frankish (Germanic) territories, West and East Francia.

East Francia, from which modern Germany developed, was part of Germania Libera, the area inhabited by Germanic tribes which was not conquered by Rome.


My reply wasn't a rant, and it wasn't bellicose. I further suggest that you read Germania by Tacitus, and Strabo's Geographica, which provide the earliest accounts of the people's of the world who became known as Germans. As i said, you need to do a lot of reading--a lot. I've been reading history for almost 60 years, and would never attempt such a foolish and simple-minded account of the origins of France and Germany. Name-calling doesn't help your cause, but it does tell us of the apparent fragile nature of your ego.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Oct, 2015 05:08 pm
Voting down people's posts in a hissy fit is very puerile.
0 Replies
 
puzzledperson
 
  -1  
Reply Wed 7 Oct, 2015 05:31 pm
@Setanta,
" The Carolingian Empire (800–924) was the final stage in the history of the early medieval realm of the Franks, ruled by the Carolingian dynasty. The size of the empire at its zenith around 800 was 1,112,000 km 2 , with a population of between 10 and 20 million people.

With its division in 843, it also represents the earliest stage in the history of the kingdom of France and the kingdom of Germany, which in the High Middle Ages would emerge as the powerful monarchies of continental Europe, Capetian France and the Holy Roman Empire, and by extension the predecessor of the modern nations of France and Germany."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carolingian_Empi

With your irrational hostility, provocative ad hominem, habits of accusing others, perversely, of what you yourself are guilty of, facile, specious, and foolish replies, and seemingly intended merely to irritate and waste time, and delivered instantly faster than human fingers could type, you are clearly a defective pseudo-sentient. You've failed the Turing test. I forbid you and all similarly defective processes to participate in my topics. To insure that, I'm adding you to my ignore list. This isn't your first offense.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Wed 7 Oct, 2015 05:39 pm
Ah-hahahahahahahahaha . . .

You're even more entertaining than Max.
0 Replies
 
puzzledperson
 
  -1  
Reply Wed 7 Oct, 2015 05:45 pm
@puzzledperson,
I'd appreciate serious replies. Setanta is a troll.
puzzledperson
 
  -1  
Reply Wed 7 Oct, 2015 06:09 pm
@puzzledperson,
Incidentally, Setanta's trolling is particularly ironic in light of his recent remarks in a thread titled "THEY'RE ALL DUTCHMEN, FER CHRISSAKE..." (all-caps present in the original):

"So, can somebody tell me how it is that there is any significant choice to be made among a parcel of Dutchmen who overran the Empire west of Greece? What significant difference in flavor is there between an Englishman, a Frenchman, a Dane and Ferdinand and Isabella?" -- Setanta

Oh, the historical scholarship is breathtaking!
Setanta
 
  3  
Reply Thu 8 Oct, 2015 02:58 am
@puzzledperson,
Your idea of recent is a thread, a joke thread, started six years ago. Is English your native language?
0 Replies
 
puzzledperson
 
  -1  
Reply Fri 9 Oct, 2015 03:01 pm
@puzzledperson,
Still waiting for a serious, knowledgeable reply as to the extent to which French and Germans share Germanic tribal ethnicity and to what extent they share or differ in terms of other genetic backgrounds (e.g. presence/contribution of Celtic material to each). Its OK to break down by region (e.g. northern vs. southern France).

Note: because Setanta is a malicious, ignorant troll I have put him on my ignored user list (so far he is the only member of that list), and all comments by him are invisible to me.
Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Reply Sat 10 Oct, 2015 12:15 am
@puzzledperson,
While France have been a "distinct nation" from the very beginning onwards, what is now "Germany" never was until 1873.

The East Frankish Kingdom became the Kingdom of Germany and the Holy Roman Empire ...

"Tribal ethnicity" is still visible in the language (e.g. the Benrath line).
Or take my family name, which is of Saxon origin, though we were conquered by the Franks (here) around 700.
The "tribal identity" remained, the Franks just gave their power to the local tribal 'princes' ... or to their bishops.

Since Strabo's time (AD 68), Celts and Germanic tribes get mixed, but they actually never have been in most of what is Germany today (or was the Holy Roman Empire)
Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Reply Sat 10 Oct, 2015 12:31 am
@puzzledperson,
puzzledperson wrote:
To this day the German name for France is Franksreich, or Realm of the Franks.

In German, it's Frankreich.
0 Replies
 
puzzledperson
 
  -1  
Reply Sun 11 Oct, 2015 12:23 am
@Walter Hinteler,
Finally, a reply! Thank you, Herr Hinteler.

For my purposes, I am less concerned with determining Germanic tribal make-up than in distinguishing Germanic vs. non-Germanic (e.g. Celtic, Latin, Basque) genetic heritage. Perhaps I should clarify this by noting that modern national rivalries between France and Germany on the basis of supposed ethnic differences would prove amusingly ironic if the two peoples came largely from the same stock.

You say the Germans are less diluted. That may be so, but may I ask what basis you have for this assertion?

Brown and Black haired Germans seem more common today than the "Nordic" blonds of Tacitus' time:

"For myself, I concur in opinion with such as suppose the people of Germany never to have mingled by inter-marriages with other nations, but to have remained a people pure, and independent, and resembling none but themselves. Hence amongst such a mighty multitude of men, the same make and form is found in all, eyes stern and blue, yellow hair, huge bodies, but vigorous only in the first onset. Of pains and labour they are not equally patient, nor can they at all endure thrift and heat. To bear hunger and cold they are hardened by their climate and soil."

Of course, Roman historians may be prone to overgeneralization and to presenting rumor as fact, but the quote taken at face value suggests some substantial alterations since that time. I do not know whether immigration in more modern times is responsible, or intermixing in the shifting demographic migrations of late antiquity and early Middle Ages.

Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Reply Sun 11 Oct, 2015 12:52 am
@puzzledperson,
puzzledperson wrote:
Perhaps I should clarify this by noting that modern national rivalries between France and Germany on the basis of supposed ethnic differences would prove amusingly ironic if the two peoples came largely from the same stock.
I don't think that that there are "modern national rivalries between France and Germany" to a more extend than between other of our neighbouring countries.

Those in the past might to a great extent have sources in "who owns what", the Napoleonic wars, French possessions of German countries .... whatever.

[quote="puzzledperson]You say the Germans are less diluted. [...] Brown and Black haired Germans seem more common today than the "Nordic" blonds of Tacitus' time[/quote]Tacitus had only a "view" (and even that only minimally by own experiences) of some more central and northern Germanic tribes.

Besides that: the Franks ("Gauls") came originally from Scandivia as well ... passed my region to settle what is now France and coming back some hundred years later ...
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Oct, 2015 01:03 am
Strabo and Tacitus are primary sources. Neither claimed to be an eyewitness, but both had access to those who were eyewitnesses. Tacitus wrote in the late first century CE, at a time when Germans were an accepted part of the Empire. He had no motive to present either a biased or a fanciful account. In fact, in the text of De Origine et situ Germanorum. Tacitus expresses admiration for the mores and conduct of the Germans, which was slightly at odds with the popular Roman view of the Germans in his lifetime.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  3  
Reply Sun 11 Oct, 2015 01:07 am
@Walter Hinteler,
Two of the main missionaries of my part of the world, btw, were Saint Ewald the Black and Saint Ewald the Fair.

Now, how do you explain black and blond hair in Ireland ....
puzzledperson
 
  -1  
Reply Sun 11 Oct, 2015 02:10 am
@Walter Hinteler,
I didn't say contemporary rivalries, I said modern (i.e. in the 19th and 20th century).

I have no doubt that those rivalries originated from competing political interests; but those differences were attributed, by both France and Germany, to the personality traits which the national stereotypes of each attributed to the other on the basis of assumed ethnic differences (e.g., "warlike" Germans). I suspect that those supposed ethnic differences were largely exaggerated, if not imaginary.

Actually, Scandinavia was settled by central European Germanic tribes in the fourth and fifth century, not the other way around. By the time of the Viking raids of the late eighth through the tenth century, the population mix of the areas which became France and Germany were fairly well established, in terms of tribal make-up.

"Gauls" referred to three quite different groups, according to Roman writers of the period. But the Frankish invasion and displacement of native Celts and others may have made the population more homogeneous, especially in the north. The earlier Visigoth invaders (themselves displaced by the Franks) may already have accomplished some of this. Hence my question.
0 Replies
 
puzzledperson
 
  -1  
Reply Sun 11 Oct, 2015 02:25 am
@Walter Hinteler,
The two Ewalds were both from Northumbria, which was land claimed by both the Angles (the Germanic tribe that invaded and came to dominate England -- which means land of the Angles), and by the Scots. Both the native population of England (which mixed with the Angles) and the Scots,were Celtic. So it isn't difficult to explain black and fair hair.

By contrast, you assert that most of what is now Germany didn't undergo such mixing, which makes your position difficult to defend.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Oct, 2015 02:44 am
PP deals in oversimplifications, and rather vague chronologies. While it is true that the Visigoths had migrated into the south of what we now call France, the Salian Franks were already in the northern part of what we call France. Aetius campaigned against the Visigoths in the first half of the 5th century, in southern Gaul, with their principle sity at Tolosa, modern Toulouse. When Aetius, in 451, was seeking allies to fight the Huns, he alled upon the Visigoths, and he also called upon the Salian Franks, who then occupied the drainage of the Scheldt, in what we would think of as the Belgium. It was after the explusion of the Huns that the Salian Franks began to occupy what we would think of as northern France.

Both Danes and Angles invaded and took land in what became known as Northumbria. At no time did the Angles dominate the island, and England was not called England, even in the time of Alfred. The term used then was Englalond or Englaland, and it was a concept, not a national reality.
 

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