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 The problem

To find a point of access to the people who lived during the Middle Ages in Northern and Central Europe.


It is difficult in any context to find a point of access into the Middle Ages, especially for an American. The fact that the contribution of our own ancestors has undoubtedly been distorted adds to the difficulty. Contemporaneous descriptions of the Germanic tribes have always been presented to us through a lens provided by their enemies. Later distortions were added by the horribly distorted lens of ideology. It is curious that, for us, our very own ancestors still dwell in an ahistorical mist, not too dissimilar to the situation described by our ancestors themselves in their holy book:    

"It was at the beginning of time when nothing was, sand
  was not, nor sea, nor cool waves. Earth did not exist,
nor heaven on high. The mighty gap was, but no growth.”


This “mighty gap,” we learn, was filled with a cold mist. It still is.

Perhaps the new scholarship on the peoples of Northern and Central Europe, bolstered by the amazing archaeological evidence being gathered, can yield a more mature perspective on the people and cultures of this remarkable time and place. I feel that I have taken a few steps toward the mist with the following:

  • In order to bring some precision to the topic, I have translated a few sections from a recent scholarly book, entitled Die Geschichte der Germanen, by Arnulf Kraus.   <Translated Sections>
  • A time-line of important events during this period.  <Timeline>
  • A virtual museum tour in search of artifacts.   <Museum Tour>
  • Kraus’ list of Germanic tribes, with commentary translated and augmented.   <List of Tribes>


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