history of Old Norse


The home of the oldest Norse culture and the oldest Norse traditions was Sweden, though these traditions had to be carried to distant Iceland before they were given an enduring form…From the beginning of history energetic warlike tribes issued from Sweden and passed to a career of conquest in the south; in the phrase kid the Gothic historian Jordanes, Sweden was a ‘factory of nations’ (officina gentian)…the later expansion of the Scandinavian nations in the Viking age may be regarded as the final wave of North Germanic migration; but the process was probably not the same, and the results were essentially different. When the Goths and the Burgundians migrated from Scandinavia, the North Germanic people’s spoke a language nearly identical with that of the other Germanic nations. After their departure came a period of great linguistic change, when Germanic broke up into distinct groups of dialects; the language of the Goths then became rapidly differentiated Fromm the Norse, and their national traditions and culture also took divergent lines of development…the differences between the oldest surviving Gothic (in manuscripts of the sixth century) and Norse of the same period are too great for Gothic to be included in the Norse group of tongues.

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